High Heels, from Yang-May Ooi's memoir Bound Feet Blues - A Life Told in Shoes

Does wearing high heels make you more of a woman? Does wearing clumpy boots make you less of a woman? As women, do we have to be feminine to be considered beautiful? These are the intriguing questions asked by Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes, a moving and powerful memoir by Yang-May Ooi. Find out more below…

Do High Heels Make You More of a Woman?

When I was a child I used to be a tomboy. I thought that once I turned 18 I would magically want to become more feminine, just like my beautiful and glamorous mum. But I didn’t.

Being feminine was hard work. But in my twenties, I made myself into a girly girl by hard work and determination. I wore the latest fashions, had big permed hair (it was the ‘80s!) and wore high heel shoes. It paid off and I had many handsome boyfriends.

Yang-May Ooi in a red cheongsam and high heels - from her memoir Bound Feet Blues, A Life Told in Shoes, published by Urbane Publications

High Heels & Cheongsam… Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes


But I felt like a stranger to myself. Could I still be womanly if I wore sturdy, comfortable shoes that I could stride around in? I didn’t think so. Until one day, I fell truly, madly, deeply in love…

In my book Bound Feet Blues, I explore this question of female desirability through the shoes in my life. I also look at the legacy of Chinese footbinding on our modern psyche and what that brutal practice might tell us about the constructs of femininity and masculinity.

And I wonder: What kind of shoes do you like? And what might they say about you?


Check out this trailer for Yang-May Ooi’s memoir, Bound Feet Blues:


You can buy a copy of Bound Feet Blues from Amazon.

Bound Feet Blues - A Life Told in Shoes, the moving memoir by Yang-May Ooi

BUY Bound Feet Blues, available for Kindle and in print



Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes is the moving memoir by Yang-May Ooi exploring what it means to be a woman interweaving social history of bound feet and women’s fashion with the stories of strong Chinese women in a single family.


Author: Yang-May Ooi

Yang-May Ooi is a writer & podcaster. Her creative work includes The Flame Tree and Mindgame (novels), Bound Feet Blues (theatre & family memoir), The Anxiety Advantage and Creative Conversations (podcasts). ¦ www.TigerSpirit.co.uk

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